Goodhue County: Solid waste deal done, antibody tests denied
The Goodhue County Board of Commissioners made its final vote to enact the solid waste ordinance as part of the closed landfill plan.
RED WING — In 62 days, Goodhue County's new solid waste designation ordinance will go into effect.
Public Works Director Greg Isakson said the ordinance would normally be effective 60 days after approval, but since that date fell on a Saturday, it will take effect Monday, Sept. 21.
Isakson added that the city of Red Wing's solid waste sorting and incineration facilities are already available for the county's trash capacity.
Commissioner Barney Nesseth expressed concern that only three waste haulers — Hagedorn Enterprises, Lightning Disposal and LJP Enterprises — had signed up to be waste haulers so far. None of the three, or any combination of the three, currently cover the entire county.
However, Isakson noted that Waste Management indicated it would sign a waste hauler agreement with the county once the ordinance was finally approved.
"Overall, I’m very worried about this whole trash ordinance and how it will affect my district," Nesseth said, referring to his belief that western Goodhue County residents will pay more because their trash will be hauled a longer distance. "I hope we’re not biting into a big thing that will kill us down the road."
Commissioner Brad Anderson said he'd been working on the ordinance for five years, and while there might be some increased costs countywide, the agreement and entrance into the state's solid waste compact will protect the county from liability.
The ordinance was approved by a vote of 3-2, with Nesseth and Jason Majerus voting "no."
In other business, the county board voted against paying for COVID-19 antibody tests for county employees as part of the county insurance program's biometric testing program.
The tests, according to the notes from an insurance committee meeting held July 8, cost $109 per employee. About 149 county employees are eligible for the test as part of the biometric testing program. Furthermore, the costs of the test would be covered under funding from the CARES Act that is designed to cover costs associated with COVID-19.
Commissioner Paul Drotos said he would support the testing in order to let employees know whether they are healthy or not.
Commissioners Nesseth and Majerus expressed concern over approving the antibody tests. Majerus said he did not think the county should spend that much money per employee if there was no practical upside to knowing the results. Nesseth agreed, saying even medical experts note that people who have antibodies for the novel coronavirus can still get the COVID-19 disease again and still spread it if they are reinfected.
Commissioners voted 3-2 not to approve COVID-19 antibody testing for county employees, with Commissioner Linda Flanders joining Nesseth and Majerus in voting "no."